Archive for the 'Remembrance' Category

Remembrance: Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak passed away today at the age of 83.

Best known for “Where the Wild Things Are,” Sendak illustrated his own stories and others, including the Little Bear series by Else Holmelund Minarik. His own tales combined dreamscape images with familiar comforts–be they chicken soup with rice or hot suppers left by your mother.

I think the best goodbye I can put is using his own fitting words about coming home.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go–

we’ll eat you up–we love you so!”

And Max said, “No!”

The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye

and sailed back over a year

and in and out of weeks

and through a day

and into the night of his very own room

where he found his supper waiting for him

and it was still hot.

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Remembrance: Jan Berenstain

Jan Berenstain passed away this weekend.

Some of my first reading memories go back to the Berenstain Bears. (Then they were the Berenstein Bears. At some point it changed after I had moved to chapter books.) They always made me feel cozy and warm, like I was visiting into a world where everyone was familiar. No matter what shenanigans Papa, Brother and Sister Bear got into, I knew it Mama Bear would set them all straight in the end.

I learned to not be afraid of storms and to be thankful for what I had:

To ignore prejudices and give people a chance:

To eat healthily:

And to be myself, not what others want me to be:

Thank you, Jan Berenstain.

Anne McCaffrey

Anne McCaffrey passed away today at the age of 85.

Certain authors, especially those you discover at a younger age, shape the way you read, write and approach fiction altogether. For me, one of these idols of the page was Anne McCaffrey.

I first met her through her Harper Hall of Pern trilogy, discovering the world of Pern and it’s dragons through the protagonist Menolly. From there I was hooked, latching on to her other characters, other stories. Devouring Pern and all the adventures and romance it offered. I owe an immense debt of gratitude to Dragonflight. Junior High Me scribbled away in her notebooks, shamelessly ripping off the heated moments between F’lar and Lessa for my own little stories. The novel had action, politics and a romantic subplot–all things I adore in the fiction I read nowadays.

The universes McCaffrey created were boundless, diverse and fraught with the complications of real life–which make her worlds seem all that more tangible. I’m deeply sorry to hear that she has passed and I thank her for all she did while she was with us.

Diana Wynne Jones

Very sad news, Diana Wynne Jones author of Howl’s Moving Castle and many other wonderful books has passed away.

Her books were always a great blend of fantasy, magic, humor and romance. She knew the world of fantasy and knew just how to subvert it just as she knew how to adore it. Howl’s Moving Castle continues to be one of my favorite books and probably always will.

Thank you for the stories, rest in peace.

Brian Jacques

Today one of my favorite authors, Brian Jacques died. Jacques wrote the amazing Redwall series which I devoured, starting in middle school and going into my college years.

Redwall and the resulting books revolve around Redwall Abbey and its inhabitants, peaceful woodland creatures. Over the years they have been attacked by several fierce hoards and warlord and savages and pirates. When this happens, the abbey’s first warrior, Martin chooses a champion to defend Redwall. The series expanded to develop the myths and lore surrounding other locations and characters in the universe.

Each species of animal (otters, squirrels, mice, moles, hares, hedgehogs and more) had their own culture, their own ways and their specific dialect. It was the kind of series that any age of reader could enjoy. Brian Jacques made a world where every triumph and tragedy felt real to the last detail–from the grand banquets the abbey put on to the characters who died in the battles fought. Brian Jacques was and is a large part of my reading history and I will miss him Rest in peace.


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